KNOTBOARDS
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Last updated  2007-12-10
Click on any
picture to bring
up a larger
verzion!
Whenever "Jack" got tired of doing belts, scrimshaw, ditty-bags or his normal work,  he'd probably
make up a "knotboard".  They were originally to show an individual sailor's knowledge of ropework
and his ability to do them in miniature, but they rapidly became favored as pure decoration in pubs
and restaurants and "Jack" would quite often trade a night of boozing for a really nice one.

The more knots you could put on a knotboard, the (
obviously) better a knotter (and, presumably, a
sailor
) you were.  As a consequence, some became extremely ornate and crowded (see the Shield
board) to the detriment of the work.  

Nowadays, if you see a knotboard offered commercially, it was almost certainly made in China or Indonesia and I'd not spit
on one.  The poor bastards who make 'em must work for nothing at all... I recently got a quote for 20" x 36" boards, framed
and glassed with 32 knots, small pulleys, a ship's wheel and other decorations in a "walnut (yeh,
SURE it is) frame"...  From
China, remember:  $9.84 @...
DELIVERED,  in lots of 144.  



         
TOM   STOKER,  Brooklyn, NY
THIS HAND MADE KNOT BOARD WAS CRAFTED BY TOM
STOKER,HEAD RIGGER AT TODD SHIPYARD BROOKLYN NY.

DIMENSIONS 24" ROUND X 2" DEEP CASE IS WOOD CAN ACCEPT
A GLASS COVER (NOT INCLUDED)

PHOTOS IN FRAME ARE OF TOM STOKER WITH SOME OF THE
MODELS HE HAD BUILT.

CONTAINS 40+ KNOTS NOT INCLUDING THE PICTURE FRAMES
AND CIRCULAR OUTER BORDER
During WWII, the Navy had training centers in some rather unusual places... one
of these was in Farragut, Idaho!  Now, Idaho is not particularly known for the
seamen she's produced which is unfortunate:  this training facility pumped out
sailors as good as any born to the sea.  Quite a few of them never came back
from the sea.

Any roads,  here is an unfortunately small and light coloured photo of a fancy
knotboard make up by the Seamanship School at Farragut.   
Mark Lempke is a retired HN (Hospitalman, or "Corpsman") who was
the medical staff for some Recon Marines.  He does
Recon Paddles
and also sent a pic of his knotboard.
Jack Cross was a Boatswain's Mate during and just after the
Knorean Conflict and has done us a
tutorial as well as sending
up this wonderful picture of a tasteful knotboard... not so much
as to "crowd" the eye, but very well done items and a neat
picture as well.

Jack has send me other pictures of knotboards and as soon as
I can I'll have them up here as well.
This shield-shaped knotboard is probably from around the early 1900's
and is a true exemplar of the knottyer's skills.   It has everything but the
kitchen sink on it and it's large, to boot.    Clicking on the picture will
show you an enlarged verzion.

Clicking HERE will show you the shield with some annotations as to
what the knots are.
Mr. Charles Jacobus is a retired Boatswain's Mate who
served aboard the USS New Jersey (BB62) and who has
made several knotted frames and knotboards which are
now on display aboard the New Jersey in her on-board
museum.  Click on the picture to be taken to his page.
Skip Hipps is another ex-sailor who makes his living doing the
most astounding picture frames and other knotting... The
knotboard to the left is only a small example of his skills.  Click on
the picture to be taken to his pages.
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prohibited without prior written permission.